When it comes to set up your e-commerce website, you need a quick and easy solution, especially when you want to launch your first digital store so that your site maintenance and products implementation requires very little experience. This is where many e-tailers consider Shopify or BigCommerce to set up their e-commerce website.
Both of these e-commerce platforms are hosted solutions, which means that Shopify and BigCommerce will host your store and software, giving you peace of mind that the technology is up to date and you will have dedicated support. The downside of hosted software is that you will have to pay a monthly fee, which typically can be pretty high.
As a digital agency, we understand the importance and benefits of having a well-designed and customised storefront and this is easily achievable using Shopify and BigCommerce.
However, which one is better? How do they compare? Are they scalable? These are common questions we are routinely asked, hence we have put together this document, so you can make an informed decision when you are ready to build your e-commerce store.
It is fair to say that Shopify is quickly becoming the leading and favourite hosted ecommerce platform. Website designers and developers tend to prefer it over competitors as it is easy to manage the look and feel, so it can be branded and customised to reflect your company’s identity. In addition to this, all themes are mobile-commerce ready and fully supported across Android, Windows or iOS devices.
What are Shopify’s shopping cart key features?
– Easy platform to manage unlimited products
– Ability to create sales channels
– Track sales and growth trends
– Fulfill orders in a single step
– Free SSL certificate
– 70 payment gateways
– Accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express
– Multi language support
– Flexible shipping rates via carriers like UPS and FedEx
– Gift cards and promotional codes
– Abandoned checkout recovery
At Foundry Digital, we have been involved with clients in the development of websites using Shopify and in our experience there are many things we like:
Loading speed of product pages: as a hosted platform, it has developed a built-in speed which is mega fast.
Security: it runs solid layers of security to be PCI compliant and to process debit and credit card payments securely.
All in one solution: Shopify has a vast marketplace for add ons and plugins. So anything required to configure product information and delivery bands, order processing, analytics tracking, marketing tools and CRM integrations is available from one platform.
Even though we have mentioned that Shopify is easy to customise, there are areas like the checkout pages, which are more difficult to alter. For this you have to use their theme template, which is a problem if you wish to implement your branding on the payment pages.
The second point where Shopify fails tremendously is in its pricing structure. Starting at $29 per month for the basic platform, the Shopify monthly fee can easily escalate to $299 per month as this is the charge for the Advanced Store, which makes available tools that a savvy business owner is likely to want access to.
Also, if you use Shopify Payments expect to pay 2.2% + 20p for every transaction that is made on your site.
However their entire app process is set up much better than the competition and they have the most available apps too. Shopify starts at $29/mo. And if you use their credit card processor you will only have to pay the standard 2.9 % + 30 p rate. If you upgrade to a higher plan the per-transaction fee is lower.
BigCommerce is a similar platform to Shopify, except it is slightly less flexible to customise and the management of source code files to adapt to your desired brand/theme is more restricted. However, don’t let this put you off, as it still allows you to work with amazing designs, which are clean and responsive to mobiles and tablets. Plus the management of products and acceptance of payments is swiftly done via a vast range of options.
If you wish to design your website using BigCommerce, there are plenty of themes pre-built so getting your online shop live is pretty easy and fast, unless you wish to change a theme or create your own version so it reflects your brand identity, which we would recommend the services of a web developer agency for BigCommerce.
Design template fees are in the region of $150 – $230, but also you can be truly unique and creative by customising your own website design and create the perfect shopping experience for your users.
BigCommerce allows you cross sell across different channels including Amazon, eBay Google Shopping Facebook and Pinterest. We also like the conversion tools, specifically the abandon cart saver and the coupons and discounting, which are easy and fun to configure.
One of the strong points of BigCommerce is SEO Marketing as it uses a unique content delivery network to publish and load pages faster than other e-commerce platforms.
Another good point is the responsiveness for viewing on phones and tablets. The user interface is one of the best in the mobile checkout process, making it an excellent choice for shops which customers tend to purchase primarily online.
Also, it is also worth noting BigCommerce has a robust back office and easy-to-use interface, however a number of features come at additional expense.
In our experience, BigCommerce tends to be limiting in terms of theme design configuration and also in the amount of sales volume you can process every year, unless you pay for the Enterprise plan.
In terms of fees, it compares similarly to Shopify, with prices only slightly higher starting at $29.95 per month for a Basic account, $79.95 monthly for a Plus account and $249.95 per month for a Pro account.
As this is a hosted platform, you expect security features to be taken into account, however, good plugins come as paid add ons, so you must raise a budget for this.
As website developers specialising in Shopify and BigCommerce platforms, we have a great experience working with both systems. On the plus side, these are hosted systems, so all hosting management, speed and security is taken care of. However, it comes at a high price, whilst other carts like WooCommerce are free and offer competitive features. But, putting cost aside, Shopify is our preferred platform as it is more flexible, integration is easy, themes can be adapted to desired user interface, cart options are robust and security features are first class.
and calculate your budget and timescale